It’s been a long cold winter and a lot of pausing for thought as the Cubs had an amazing run during the playoffs last fall but were stymied by the immovable force of the New York Mets.
Well, it’s not 2015 anymore. Starlin Castro is now a New York Yankee and there are three new faces in the lineup with the likes of Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist.
Does this mean a guarantee of back to back 97 win seasons or could the Cubs surpass last year’s total and achieve a 100 plus victory season?
“The target’s going to be bigger, and I want us to embrace the target,” Joe Maddon said. “The pressure is going to be possibly greater, and I want us to embrace the pressure. The bigger target, the greater pressure, I think, equals a grander chance for success. So I’m all about that, and I definitely will bring that to our guys’ attention.”
There is a lot of pressure on the now not so underdog Chicago Cubs. Many sites including SportsNet have picked the Cubs to win it all but of course nothing is written in stone and with a 160 + game season, it’s really anyone’s game. One thing is for certain and that is this year’s edition of the mighty North Siders is destined for the history books.
There will be a new leadoff hitter after the departure of Dexter Fowler. It could be Ben Zobrist and let’s face it, with the Cubs lineup, is there any weakness?
Baseball is a beautiful game. It’s unlike any other game in professional sports but it wasn’t until a few days ago when I was playing catch in the basement with my five year old son Darcy that I realized the magic of the game.
It’s played in the summer. Yes, any other sport is played during winter months when families are busy with shovelling snow, school, work and other priorities that drive us in all different directions. But baseball?
Well, baseball is a game that defies time. I was 31 when baseball entered my life. It didn’t go away entirely but carefully crept in during a fateful 2004 World Series. I loved baseball as a kid. Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg were my summer heroes. Let’s not forget that amazing Blue Jay run in the early nineties.
Lately, the grey hairs have overpowered my once chestnut hair and the squirrel’s nest is missing a layer or two. Every time I smile, there’s a new trench forming on my face and it takes me a little longer to run up the stairs but baseball? Man, baseball doesn’t grow older. Baseball is eternal. Every spring there’s a new face in the lineup, every game the grass is just as green as the first cut in May and the smell of that leather? Well holy shit, if they could bottle that I’d be a better man.
My son reminded me of why I love the game, why the Chicago Cubs are the greatest ball team and why they’ll beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 World Series classic.
As I was teaching him how to catch a baseball it fell and rolled across the floor. He promptly picked it up and threw it back but it missed my glove and hit the wall. Luckily, it wasn’t hard enough to do any damage but when he ran to the stairs, looked up and said, “Mommy didn’t hear that.”
He got it.
He knew that playing catch indoors isn’t a great idea but the thrill will always be there. He shows me his curveball and breaking pitch.
You see, baseball reminds us of our childhood. No time limits. Every game seems like it’ll go on forever, and sometimes does but that day playing catch with Darcy reminded me that to me he’ll always be that small. His hair will never gray, thin and his face will never wrinkle. During those nine innings we’re watching our childhood again.